Janel Dyan

Women Crushing It Wednesday

#WCIW: Cynthia Nixon

Miranda Hobbes. Tireless Activist. A Bold New Leader.

While most people recognize her as Miranda, the fair, red-haired, and realistically successful lawyer from Sex and the City, the real-life Cynthia Nixon is a spitfire and success in her own right.

She's recently made waves on social media and in the news as a strong contender against Democratic Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Her no-nonsense, impassioned, “give it to them right between the eyes” campaign ads have tackled everything from NYC’s horrendous subway issues to abortion rights for New York’s women. As a bold, unapologetic, and unafraid public figure, there can be no question that Cynthia Nixon is a woman on fire.

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A born-and-raised New Yorker and the daughter to an actress mother and radio journalist father, Cynthia came into the world in April of 1966 with performance in her blood. At just 14 she made her Broadway debut in The Philadelphia Story, and on screen alongside Tatum O’Neil in Little Darlings later that same year. She continued working throughout the 80s and early 90s in film, television, and stage, earning a Tony nomination in 1995 for her role in Indiscretions.

Her major break came in 1997 when she was cast as Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City. The show broke new ground with a female-centred cast, sharp wit, flawed heroines, and outlandish fashion, and became an overnight success.

When the show ended in 2004, Nixon continued to turn out critically-praised performances in several films and television appearances, as well as the Broadway show Rabbit Hole, which finally earned her that Tony Award.

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Behind the scenes, Cynthia was diagnosed in 2006 with breast cancer after a routine mammogram. With early detection, Nixon required minimal treatment, a lumpectomy and radiation, and continues to take Tamoxifen to this day. Cynthia was no stranger to the disease: her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer when Cynthia was 12-years-old and had two recurrences before she eventually succumbed in 2014.

Since then, Nixon has been a passionate supporter of The Breast Cancer Foundation. In an inspiring speech to the organization in 2016, Nixon said, “Breast cancer is beatable. It’s the most beatable cancer out there. We have to check ourselves and get the mammograms… My mother brought me up to believe that a breast cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence.”

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Cynthia's advocacy and support extends to women’s and LGBTQ+ right. She's been very open about the complexities of her own sexuality, leaving behind labels of lesbian or bisexual as had relationships with men most of her life but is currently married to a woman.

Her stance has made her a lightning rod in the LGBTQ+ community and among homophobic rabble. Of that controversy, Nixon has said, “A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here,”

In a 2012 interview that triggered widespread outrage in mainstream gay circles, she asked “Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate. I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.”

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Running on a progressive, Democratic Socialist platform, Nixon's campaign is nearly as far left as it can go. In a state that saw the 28-year-old Democratic Socialist, Alexandria Casio-Cortez, usurp a long-time incumbent, it’s impossible to count Nixon out.

Just today Cynthia spoke at a pro-choice rally in Union Square in NYC about the dangers that the reversal of Roe v. Wade would bring about. She shared the story of her mother’s own illegal abortion in the years leading up to the court decision and held up a wire hanger as a reminder of those dark days. Only time will tell if New York is ready for such a politician, but for us, her gift of Miranda Hobbes, her tireless activism, and her determination to make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers and all Americans, makes Cynthia Nixon this week’s #WCIW.

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